The Los Angeles Rams are the 3-2 favorites to win Super Bowl 52 as they have a 5.5 point lead in their division with just 10 games left to play on the season. They’re also 2-1 without starting quarterback, Jared Goff, who was replaced by backup QB Nick Foles this past week and will remain behind him for now. But it’s not all roses for LA right now; even though rookie receiver/returner RB Saquon Barkley is second in NFL history for yards from scrimmage through his first three seasons (just ahead of Ezekiel Elliott), he has been ruled out until next year because of an ankle injury that is expected to cost him more time than originally thought.,
The team brought back veteran WR Odell Beckham Jr.’s four game suspension earlier this month which helped them get solid wins against Tennessee and Jacksonville over those two weeks but still dropped the ball at home against Houston last weekend despite having plenty of chances late when leading 13-10
The “what team is odell beckham on” is a question that has been asked for years. The Los Angeles Rams are the answer, but they aren’t the team you want to play.
Odell Beckham Jr. seems to be settling into his new surroundings with the Los Angeles Rams. Following a strong victory against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football, OBJ and the Rams have put the rest of the NFC on notice.
Beckham is not only warming up to Matthew Stafford, but he’s also displaying the big-play ability that has made him one of the league’s most dangerous weapons.
The Rams are not a club you want to play against in the regular season or in the playoffs.
Despite the fact that the Rams are in the middle of an epidemic that puts OBJ on the reserve/COVID-19 list only one day after defeating the Cardinals, things seem to be looking better for LA.
The Rams’ victory on Monday night was remarkable, but it’s how they defeated the Cardinals that has to make the rest of the NFC contenders nervous.
Yes, Stafford had battled mightily only a few weeks earlier, but he rediscovered his peak form and had himself a day against Arizona. He threw for 287 yards and three touchdowns on 23 of 30 attempts. Cooper Kupp had a big day for LA, catching 13 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown, but OBJ was just as vital in the victory.
He’s had several weeks to adjust to playing with Stafford and find his place in head coach Sean McVay’s high-powered offense, and we’re beginning to see the results of his effort. Beckham, who was signed by the Rams only a few weeks ago after being released by the Cleveland Browns earlier in the season, exhibited the sort of top potential that made him such a frightening prospect for the rest of the league.
OBJ had six receptions on seven targets versus Arizona, collecting 77 yards and a score on the ground. He had a long reception of 40 yards and an average of 12.8 yards per grab.
Odell Beckham Jr. is getting back into his groove.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. #3 sprints with the football after a catch against the Arizona Cardinals | Getty Images/Christian Petersen
Beckham’s stats against the Cardinals were remarkable, but it was the manner he played for the Rams that truly stood out. The gloomy star wide receiver who didn’t think he was receiving enough targets or that his quarterback couldn’t deliver the ball to him was long gone.
He didn’t seem to be irritated, and he hasn’t been since joining the Rams.
As a consequence, he’s been relaxed and seems to be fully invested in the Rams’ efforts. There’s a tremendous difference in body language between an OBJ who is upset and utilizing his abilities to help his team and one who is bought-in and using his talents to help his team, and he’s been the latter since the Rams signed him.
He’s gaining great separation and runs precise routes. Perhaps most significantly for the Los Angeles Rams, he’s making huge receptions when they’re needed the most. His height and speed have always allowed him to torch a defense deep, but he’s also intimidating enough to run a slant into the center of the field on third down or near the goal line, and his long arms and soft hands make him difficult to defend.
Take, for example, his touchdown reception against the Cardinals. When he wants to be, he’s completely unguardable.
When he signed with the Rams, there were some doubts about how he would fit into the scheme, but an injury to Robert Woods practically made him Stafford’s second option after Kupp. He’s beginning to resemble 1B to Kupps’ 1A with the way he’s been playing recently. Beckham had a touchdown reception in each of LA’s previous three games, and his six receptions against Arizona were his highest since joining the club.
As a consequence of OBJ’s improved play, the Rams attack seemed to be quite dangerous.
Moving ahead, the Rams will be a dangerous opponent.
During the NFL game at State Farm Stadium, Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. #3 reacts after a first-down catch against the Arizona Cardinals | Getty Images/Christian Petersen
Even just a few weeks ago, the Rams seemed to be on the decline.
They dropped three consecutive games in November, including a division defeat to the 49ers and a humiliating loss to the Packers. The Rams’ defense faltered, allowing 31 and 36 points to the 49ers and Packers, respectively, but it was McVay’s offense that was most concerning. Stafford threw five interceptions during that losing streak, including one in each of the three defeats.
Before a “get right” victory over the lowly Jaguars, in which Stafford threw three touchdowns and no picks, the Rams were swiftly heading in the wrong way. The victory against Arizona on Monday night was the “we’re okay” game, if the Jaguars game was the “get right” game.
With a 9-4 record and two consecutive victories, the Rams are a game behind the 10-3 Cardinals in the NFC West and the fifth spot in the playoffs. Although the Wild Card seems to be a strong possibility for the Rams, McVay and his squad still have a chance to win the division. The Rams would have to win out while hoping Arizona loses at least once, but after Monday night, that seems to be a possibility.
With the Seahawks, Vikings, Ravens, and 49ers left on the schedule and the team dealing with a terrible coronavirus epidemic, anything is conceivable. Despite the virus and the difficulties it presents in terms of preparation and game availability, LA seems to have weathered the storm of bad performance and may just heat up at the perfect moment.
Stafford seems to have rediscovered his early-season form, and Kupp is a force to be reckoned with in this attack. Aaron Donald has four sacks in the last two games alone, and Jalen Ramsey is always a danger to shut down a passing game on the defensive side of the ball.
Who wants to see this squad on the schedule now that they’ve become more competitive? In the playoffs, who wants to face the Rams?
They’ll be difficult to beat, and OBJ is a big reason for it.
ESPN and Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.
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